Friday, May 20 2022

Speaking in public is one thing. Public speaking on Zoom comes with a whole new dimension of challenges, especially if you’re nervous about presenting.

From potential technical issues to not being able to trust your audience’s non-verbal cues, it’s easy to sweat over all the things that could go wrong while giving a virtual conference. But what if you could not only manage your performance anxiety, but also learn to enjoy public speaking on Zoom calls?

With a few subtle changes ranging from mindset tricks to very practical habits, it’s definitely possible. Here are eight expert-approved speaker tips to adopt before your next virtual presentation.

Take some and leave whichever works for you, as the idea is to adopt practices that will help you have fun with the experience (and give a better speech in the process).

1. Go with the flow

“There are going to be some glitches. The most important thing is not to worry about their occurrence, but how you can react quickly to any problems you may be facing, ”says Linda Pophal, senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and marketing consultant.

“It might involve shutting down and logging back in, clearing your cache, etc. Have plans in place before your presentations and let your audience know what to do if something unexpected happens. “

2. Use Zoom to your advantage

Yes, there are downsides to having a Zoom call compared to in person. But if you’re dreading the idea of ​​public speaking on a video call, there are some perks, too. Lee Gimpel, the founder of Better Meetings, a meeting design, facilitation, and training company, recommends experimenting with the Zoom call view that you use to watch your audience.

“You might find it very helpful to see a lot of little squares, or you might find it helpful to pin a friendly face in the audience and seemingly only talk to that person. You might also find it helpful to turn off auto-view and worry less about your own facial expressions, ”he says.

3. Include engagement prompts

Want to overcome your awareness of yourself? Attract the attention of your audience with attractive prompts. For example, you can ask people to raise their hands to confirm if they have lived a relevant work scenario or even invite specific people to talk about problems in their services, according to Michael Alexis, CEO of teambuilding.

“Those times when other people are participating give you a chance to breathe and collect your thoughts. The technique also shifts the frame of the call from public speaking to something more like ‘active conversation. between participants, led by you. ”While you may be afraid of public speaking, many people are not afraid of conversations.”

The key is to keep the prompts on topic, as well as to avoid embarrassing people with uncomfortable questions.

4. Explore your options

“Zoom presentations are not a one-size-fits-all approach. It really depends on your audience and your goals, ”Pophal explains.

“For example, when I teach, I usually have my camera on for most of the class. However, when I do webinars, I usually use my [slides] and share the screen and keep my video off except at the start and end of the session. Probably the most important thing to remember is that you have options! ”

When you’re feeling nervous about an upcoming Zoom meeting, it can be so easy to try and emulate others, which ends up making you feel inauthentic and even less confident. Trust your instincts and choose a format that works for you.

5. Plan your strategy

“So many people are just trying to ‘get through’ a presentation. We focus on realistic advice that will help the presenter feel empowered to focus on how and what they are presenting in relation to millions of other things, ”says Jenna Cooper, communications expert at Speak You.

Although the idea of ​​sprinkle your Is and cross your Ts is perhaps not the first thing you associate with fun, proper preparation will help relieve the pressure part that makes you afraid to speak first .

Cooper recommends doing things like practicing in front of the camera beforehand, standing instead of sitting, and getting used to looking at your camera instead of the screen to prepare. You’ll also want to plan the content of your presentation by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes.

“Remember, it’s not about you. This is your audience. We always say, think of it as a conversation, not a performance. Put on your teacher’s hat and really think, “What do my audience need to know? How can I best communicate it in a way that they understand? ” she says.

6. Remember the audience is your friend

On that note, it’s also very important to remember that the audience is supportive of you and wants you to win – and people sympathize with being nervous, so it’s okay if your nerves show it.

“The fear of public speaking is more a fear of rejecting ourselves and our ideas than the actual act of speaking. Be aware that most audiences seek to like the speaker. They also understand the feeling you get, ”says Melissa McGavick, President, Director of Education and Professional Speaker at McGavick Interactive Training and Member of the Board of Directors of Toastmasters International.

7. Divide your presentation into chunks

Who says you have to talk nonstop for a whole hour? It can be exhausting instead of enjoyable, and it’s not always the most engaging format either. “Once you start doing the same on a larger scale, the audience tends to go offline, unless you’re a phenomenal speaker,” Gimpel explains.

He suggests dividing your presentation into five to ten minute segments and including breaks for discussion breaks: “This could be answering questions earlier in a presentation or getting people into small groups to discuss. of an idea. The more time people spend doing things on their own, the less time you have to be a good speaker yourself. ”

8. Dress up even if they can’t see your full outfit

Want to wear pajama bottoms and a dressy top? Don’t do it, it might affect your energy and confidence.

“Being overly comfortable, like only dressing professionally from the waist down and pajama bottoms below the screen, can sabotage your professional feeling about yourself. It translates into your presentation, ”says McGavick.

“Dress for the presentation as you would if it was standing in your office or in a conference room. This little effort can boost your confidence.

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